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Censorship

’1984′ Becomes a Symbol of Protest in Thailand

1984George Orwell’s 1984 has become an object of controversy in Thailand.

Thrillist reports that tourists encountered a warning in a travel guide; displaying Orwell’s book in public could mark a reader as an “anti-coup protester.” In fact, a public screening of the 1984 movie adaptation was recently cancelled because the police had informed the organizers that their event would be considered an illegal political assembly.

Here’s more from The Bangkok Post: “One form of resistance to the coup has been ‘reader’ – individuals or small groups sitting on public walkways reading Orwell’s novel. Last week, protesters unfurled a giant poster of Gen Prayuth’s face with the words ‘Thailand 1984′ written below. Opponents of the new regime claim the book’s depiction of a dystopian state where authorities exert absolute control over the lives of citizens compares with Thailand today.”

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Parents in California Reject School District’s Sex Ed Book Choice

UnknownParents in Fremont, California are petitioning their school district not to use the book Your Health Today as the new sex education textbook for ninth graders.

The district voted to purchase the book back in June. Yet some parents think that the book is inappropriate for the students. A Care2 petition calling the district not to use the text has already collected more than 2,000 signatures. The petition says that the book “exposes youth to sexual games, sexual fantasies, sexual bondage with handcuffs, ropes, and blindfolds, sexual toys and vibrator devices, and additional instruction that is extremely inappropriate for 13 and 14 year-old youth.”

The district has defended its choice saying that many of the students are already sexually active. San Jose Mercury News has more: “‘We know this from student surveys done in our own district,’ Calvert-York said. ‘Ninth grade is the last time when we have an opportunity to help educate our students on how to be physically and emotionally safe.’”

Singapore Comes Around on Banning Gay Children’s Books

logo_nlbThe National Library Board of Singapore has stopped plans to destroy and remove children’s books featuring gay and lesbian characters from its shelves. While one of the three banned titles has already been destroyed, the other two will not be destroyed and will instead be moved to an adult section of the library.

NBC News has more: “‘I have also asked NLB to review the process by which they deal with such books,” [Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob] Ibrahim said. The library had previously said that the books went against ‘social norms’, with the majority of Singaporeans appearing to be against same-sex relationships.”

The books in question include: And Tango Makes Three; The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption; and Who’s In My Family: All About Our Families. It is not clear, which book was destroyed and which remain.

The change of heart comes after fierce opposition to the ban from activists on Twitter with the hashtag #FreeMyLibrary, as well as an open letter criticizing the decision published online which collected thousands of signatures.

Singapore Bans Children’s Books Featuring Gay Characters

logo_nlbThe government of Singapore has banned children’s books featuring gay and lesbian characters.

The regime has required the National Library Board (NLB) to destroy three children’s books including: And Tango Makes Three; The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption; and Who’s In My Family: All About Our Families.

TIME has more: “The ban was reportedly spurred by a complaint from a single library user who is also a member of the Facebook group “We Are Against Pinkdot in Singapore.” The NLB boasts a collection of more than five million books and audio-visual materials, and a spokesperson toldChannel News Asia that it acts on less than a third of the 20 or so removal requests received each year. (James Patterson’s Kill Me If You Can, which depicts incest, was the subject of a complaint but remains on the shelves.)”

The ban has prompted outrage from activists who have taken to Twitter to express their dismay with the decision using the hashtag #FreeMyLibrary. In addition, activists have written a letter criticizing the decision, which collected 4,600 signatures as of 8:00am on July 10th.

Florida School Cancels Reading Program Over Cory Doctorow Book

The principal of a Pensacola, FL-based high school has cancelled its One School/One Book summer reading program citing concerns that the approved reading assignment promoted hacker culture.

Students were going to read Cory Doctorow’s bestselling YA novel Little Brother, but the school pulled the book after receiving complaints from parents. Doctorow blogged about the issue on BoingBoing:

In an email conversation with Ms Griffith, the principal cited reviews that emphasized the book’s positive view of questioning authority, lauding “hacker culture”, and discussing sex and sexuality in passing. He mentioned that a parent had complained about profanity (there’s no profanity in the book, though there’s a reference to a swear word). In short, he made it clear that the book was being challenged because of its politics and its content.”

In response, Doctorow made the above video in which he explains that he and his publisher Tor Books are donating books directly to the students.

Fan Fiction Site Defends Itself After Wisconsin Stabbing

creepypastaWikipasta, a community writing site dedicated to horror stories, has defended itself after two preteens viciously stabbed their friend claiming they were inspired by Slenderman mythology.

Slenderman is a fictional character was created as part of a “paranormal pictures” contest hosted by the Something Awful forums in 2009, according to KnowYourMeme. He is featured in tons of fan fiction online and known for his tall thin demeanor and excessively long appendages.

After calls to shut down or censor the site, Wikipasta has pointed out that all works on the site are fiction. ”This is an isolated incident, and does not represent or attribute the Creepypasta community as a whole,” explained an administrator in a post on the site. “This wiki does not endorse or advocate for the killing, worship, and otherwise replication of rituals of fictional works. There is a line of between fiction and reality, and it is up to you to realize where the line is. We are a literature site, not a crazy satanic cult.”

Tennessee School District Bans ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’

booksA Tennessee school district has banned British author Mark Haddon‘s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for its use of profanity.

The Wilson County School Board in Tennesee pulled the mystery novel, which is about an autistic teenager investigating the death of his neighbor’s dog, from a 9th grade reading list this week.

The Tennesseean reports: “The board voted 3-1 to remove the book from the list of approved reading in the school district. One board member was absent. ‘The F-bomb is pretty common in that book, and that’s what I have a problem with,’ said board member Wayne McNeese, who received complaints about the book from some of his constituents. ‘I’m not dumb enough to think students don’t hear that language, but it doesn’t mean we should promote it.’”

Parents Protest Sex Ed eBook in Missouri School Library

itsperfectlynormalPerfectly Normal, a middle school sexual education digital textbook by Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley, is has received some complaints from parents in Missouri.

The book shows graphic representations of people having sex, which is leading some local parents to petition to have the eBook removed from a school library in the Francis Howell School District. USA Today has the story:

District officials say “it was determined to keep the ebook available as a resource for check-out in the library. If a parent determines that he/she does not want to their child to have access to certain materials, we honor that request.”

Patron Tried to Ban Dr. Seuss’ ‘Hop on Pop’ From Toronto Library

hoponpopA Canadian parent filed a complaint to the Toronto library last year, asking to ban Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s book Hop on Pop because it “encourages children to use violence against their fathers.” The complaint was revealed this week when the Toronto Library released its Materials Review Committee report for 2013.

The person suggested that the library remove the book from the library’s collection and “issue an apology to fathers in the GTA and pay for damages resulting from the book.”

The committee rejected the complaint and retained the book in the children’s book finding that ”the book is a humorous and well-loved children’s book” and has maintained its popularity since it was published in 1963. The committee also pointed out that, “the children are actually told not to hop on pop.” (Via TIME).

Parent Calls Cops on Sherman Alexie Novel Distrbution During World Book Night

truediaryStudents in Idaho celebrated World Book Night last week by handing out free copies of Sherman Alexie‘s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

The National Book Award winning title was recently banned by the Idaho school district. Members of the district that disapproved of the book called the police on the teens distributing the free copies last week.

Shelf Awareness has more: “KBOI-2 reported that ‘the police asked Kissel about passing out the book. They said they found nothing wrong with what was going on in the park.’ Case closed. Kissel said they had 350 books to give away at the park, along with 350 donated by publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Another book giveaway is planned for next week.”

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